MCCAIN TO SUSPEND CAMPAIGN AND WANTS DEBATE DELAY; FOCUS ON ECONOMY - Page 24 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #231 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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A Paulson-Cantor Plan Is a Win-Win

The single-biggest mistake in the Paulson bank-rescue-plan marketing effort has been the failure to explain clearly how taxpayers are going to recoup $700 billion used to buy toxic assets at auction in order to unfreeze the banking system. In other words, folks don’t understand how taxpayers will be paid back, and may actually make profits, which will enable the new government debt to be erased after the Treasury bank-rescue is completed.

Here’s the key point: Any loan package bought by the Treasury will be 100 percent taxpayer owned. Period.

Let’s walk through this hypothetical for a moment. Through a market-driven auction, the Treasury will purchase some dollar amount — say, $100 billion — of loans that banks will sell. The Treasury will then buy those loans at the prices that fill the auction, starting with the lowest prices and working up. Now, the Treasury will hold those bonds either to maturity or for a sale in the open market if rising prices in the market make that sale attractive. In other words, suppose the Treasury buys a bond package at 20 cents on the dollar. They hold it for a while, and if market conditions improve, they sell it for 50 cents on the dollar to some buyer (e.g., an investment fund, a private-equity fund, a hedgie). The Treasury will make the sale at the higher price in order to gain a profit for taxpayers.

In the meantime, as the Treasury holds the loans, the government will get monthly cash-flows coming in on the mortgages, or on any other loans that it owns. So it is win-win for taxpayers. First, taxpayers get the cash flow generated by the assets. (Something like a 10 percent interest rate.) Second, if the loan is sold for profit, the taxpayers will own that profit. And the new law must of course stipulate that all the cash flows and/or profits go for debt-reduction to protect taxpayers.

I don’t think a lot of folks understand this win-win scenario. Let me repeat: The taxpayers own the bonds the Treasury buys; the taxpayers own the cash flows generated by the bonds; the taxpayers own the profits when the bonds are sold; and the taxpayers benefit when the profits and cash flows are used to pay-down government debt.

Actually, for taxpayers, it’s a win-win-win-win.

Think about this. The troubled assets purchased by the Treasury right now are likely to be very under-priced because of the chaotic and frozen market conditions. But over time, through monthly cash-flow payments or through loan sales, taxpayers will get all their money back and in great likelihood a handsome profit.

I have been in conversation with leading House Republicans all day. And they understand these key points. Unfortunately, this understanding did not materialize in their original meeting with Mr. Paulson a few days ago. But now the actual reality is sinking in.

Another point: Republican leader Eric Cantor has an excellent idea for a federal bond insurance guarantee for straight mortgage-backed paper, financed by private-sector insurance premiums. That will improve investor confidence in mortgage bonds and will make those bonds highly marketable. Importantly, senior Treasury officials have told me that Mr. Paulson will accept the insurance idea as an option in the final bill, alongside the ability of the Treasury to purchase distressed assets.

Sources also tell me that other conditions will be necessary to bring the House GOP along. First, the ACORN slush fund must be removed. Second, the so-called union proxy to run a slate of corporate directors is a big problem. Third, all profits from the Treasury rescue mission must be used to reduce the national debt — 100 percent. Fourth, Republican members are opposed to bankruptcy judges setting mortgage terms and interest rates (Sen. Obama also is opposed). Fifth, the so-called government equity ownership of banks is distasteful because it effectively creates a corporate tax increase on banks at a time when they are struggling. And last, the Treasury secretary’s request for $700 billion is regarded as way too high.

Essentially, House Republican leaders want a slimmer, cleaner Paulson plan supplemented by Mr. Cantor’s mortgage-bond insurance program. I think it’s a good package that would be great news for stock and bond markets that are now ailing badly. It would set the stage for a gradual return to normalcy on the part of bank lenders, including loans to small businesses, consumers, and homeowners. It would be a pro-growth package at a time when the economy desperately needs a prosperity tonic.

Kudlow: A Paulson-Cantor Plan Is a Win-Win - Financials * US * News * Story - CNBC.com

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post #232 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 08:39 PM
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From Tomorrows Barrons:

An attempt to use the bailout plan to punish bankers could backfire.

CONGRESS WANTS AT LEAST A POUND OF FLESH from Wall Street's remorselessly reckless bankers. So do we all! Their drunken behavior battered the financial system and cost Main Street dearly. Just look if you dare at your 401(k). The K might as well stand for "kaput."

But history lessons from both the Great Depression and the S&L bailout tell us that it's better for the pols to simmer down. An emotionally charged rush to find whipping boys generally ends up costing taxpayers a lot more. Unfortunately, just such a rush took place last week.

Regardless of whether you love or hate their $700 billion bailout proposal, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were correct in warning Congress at the beginning of last week that any punitive measures attached to it -- for instance, a limit on executive compensation at any company selling troubled assets to the government -- would undermine the effort. Paulson then may have made a big mistake when, later in the week, under pressure from Congress, he waffled and accepted such conditions. Punitive measures could well discourage broad participation by banks -- and without broad participation, the plan is likely to fail.

Paulson's hope is to "un-clog" credit markets by offering to buy troubled assets from financial institutions. The lenders in theory would take cash generated by the sales and lend it out, easing the credit crunch. But Congress fears that piratical bankers who caused the historic mess might earn big bonuses when their banks' profits rise after they unload their bad debts on Uncle Sam.

According to some experts on banking regulation, demanding that financial companies reduce executive pay -- and even sell warrants to the Treasury as a price for admission -- will complicate the bailout and possibly bog it down. Relatively healthy institutions may well have second thoughts about participating, says Robert Litan, a banking expert at the Brookings Institution -- unless Treasury is allowed broad discretion in applying the penalty. With discretion, executives at institutions on the verge of collapse could be penalized, and ones at relatively healthy institutions could be given a pass. Otherwise bankers who were honest will feel they are being punished for the sins of others, he says.

Bert Ely, a banking consultant from Alexandria, Va., said bankers, quite rationally, will weigh the costs of participation to both themselves and their institutions. "If Congress makes the executive-compensation penalty too expensive, then people won't play," he says.


And make no mistake: Broad participation is required if the government's asset purchases are to go smoothly. Just think about the "reverse auction," one approach that Paulson is mulling. In that kind of auction, lots of parties with stuff to sell pitch prices at a single buyer. The sellers with the lowest-priced assets get to unload their damaged goods. So the more sellers, the more apt the government is to get a good price. Paulson and Bernanke emphasized time after time last week that financial institutions big and small would have to participate.

A provision allowing Treasury to demand warrants from bailout participants-giving the government the right to buy shares at a particular price -- could also confound the process. While it may give taxpayers more upside, it would create devilish complications for administering the program.

"How do you estimate how much the warrants are worth, or the appropriate amount that Treasury should get? What a mess it is going to be!" Ely says.

CONGRESS HAS A HISTORY OF POLITICIZING bailouts and, in doing so, running up the costs to taxpayers. Back in 1932, a newly Democratic Congress demanded that the government reveal the names of banks borrowing money from the Reconstruction Finance Corp., which had been created to make loans to troubled institutions and liquefy the financial system. The Democrats were trying to expose any loans to politically connected Republicans. But the publication of the identity of banks receiving RFC loans, which began in August 1932, reduced the effectiveness of RFC lending, according to James Butkiewicz, a professor at the University of Delaware's Alfred Lerner College.

Butkiewicz, an RFC expert, says bankers feared that public revelation of an RFC loan would make depositors think their institution was failing. Bank lending remained flat for six to seven years after that, he says. Treasury had funded the RFC initially with $500 million and authorized it to borrow another $1.5 billion to lend to banks.

During the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, Congress barred S&Ls from the future purchase of junk bonds because those instruments were blamed for the failure of some 200 institutions. Congress, in a fit of righteous anger, also forced S&Ls with junk bonds in their portfolios to sell them by a fixed date, artificially depressing the market and reducing capital and lending at the institutions. That forced selloff caused huge losses. T. Timothy Ryan, who was director of the Office of Thrift Supervision at the time, said Congress unintentionally made a big mistake. Ironically, if the thrifts had been allowed to hold the bonds, they would have made huge profits as interest rates declined in the early '90s. This would have prevented many institutions from failing and reduced the cost of the $160 billion bailout for S&Ls.

It's all right to be mad. It's all right to get even. Even a feel-good congressional tantrum has its place -- but it's not in bailout legislation.
Fallacious and self-serving. It lost all credibility with the bolded portion.

You mean these fat cats would rather let their companies, and perhaps the entire country, go into the tank, than be slightly less rich? Are they really that greedy, enough so to cut off their entire heads just to spite their faces?

If so, fuck 'em. Publish every bit of personal information we have about them, and let the good ol' boys take care of the rest. I hope they're already out of the country.

And fuck Baron's for advancing the notion that their sensitive feelings have fuck all to do with any of this. It's OUR money. If they don't need it, they don't have anything to worry about. If they do, they can STFU.
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post #233 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 08:45 PM
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My question on this Conservative Republican proposal is this. They make up only a percentage of the Republican Party which is in Minority right now. If the Majority Congress and part of the Republican Congress are on board the current proposal, how is this Conservative caucus holding it up? Bush and the Majority have the votes to pass the measure AND have control of all committees. Only a filibuster would stop it and McCain can't have his name attached to a filibuster. That would be suicide.

Now, on the GOOD side of this, the extra days will provide time to tune it up some more [well, hopefully good].

While I disagree with the path Bernanke took from 2006 until his awakening, he is the single most knowledgeable person on the effects of the Great Depression, the actions/inactions of congress and the FED in 1929-1933 and how that relates to NOW that is in this game.
I wanted to get to this earlier; hopefully my post will still be valid (so far, so good as of 8:30 MST Sat eve.

The answer to your question is hidden in the way you phrased it. Fact is, Nancy Pelosi has the votes in the house to stop any conservative revolt. The plan was written by three Democrats: Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner. They probably don't need Republican votes in either house and still Bush will sign. The question is why Dems need Repub support?

This bailout is extremely unpopular with voters and if it passed with only Dem votes, there goes the election. Bush is gone anyway. So bringing in Repubs gives the Dems "cover". If and when the stuff hits the fan, Dems can say that it was bipartisan. Not so hard, was it?

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post #234 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 08:53 PM
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The single-biggest mistake in the Paulson bank-rescue-plan marketing effort has been the failure to explain clearly how taxpayers are going to recoup $700 billion used to buy toxic assets at auction in order to unfreeze the banking system. In other words, folks don’t understand how taxpayers will be paid back, and may actually make profits, which will enable the new government debt to be erased after the Treasury bank-rescue is completed.

Here’s the key point: Any loan package bought by the Treasury will be 100 percent taxpayer owned. Period.

Let’s walk through this hypothetical for a moment. Through a market-driven auction, the Treasury will purchase some dollar amount — say, $100 billion — of loans that banks will sell. The Treasury will then buy those loans at the prices that fill the auction, starting with the lowest prices and working up. Now, the Treasury will hold those bonds either to maturity or for a sale in the open market if rising prices in the market make that sale attractive. In other words, suppose the Treasury buys a bond package at 20 cents on the dollar. They hold it for a while, and if market conditions improve, they sell it for 50 cents on the dollar to some buyer (e.g., an investment fund, a private-equity fund, a hedgie). The Treasury will make the sale at the higher price in order to gain a profit for taxpayers.

In the meantime, as the Treasury holds the loans, the government will get monthly cash-flows coming in on the mortgages, or on any other loans that it owns. So it is win-win for taxpayers. First, taxpayers get the cash flow generated by the assets. (Something like a 10 percent interest rate.) Second, if the loan is sold for profit, the taxpayers will own that profit. And the new law must of course stipulate that all the cash flows and/or profits go for debt-reduction to protect taxpayers.

I don’t think a lot of folks understand this win-win scenario. Let me repeat: The taxpayers own the bonds the Treasury buys; the taxpayers own the cash flows generated by the bonds; the taxpayers own the profits when the bonds are sold; and the taxpayers benefit when the profits and cash flows are used to pay-down government debt.

Actually, for taxpayers, it’s a win-win-win-win.

Think about this. The troubled assets purchased by the Treasury right now are likely to be very under-priced because of the chaotic and frozen market conditions. But over time, through monthly cash-flow payments or through loan sales, taxpayers will get all their money back and in great likelihood a handsome profit.

I have been in conversation with leading House Republicans all day. And they understand these key points. Unfortunately, this understanding did not materialize in their original meeting with Mr. Paulson a few days ago. But now the actual reality is sinking in.

Another point: Republican leader Eric Cantor has an excellent idea for a federal bond insurance guarantee for straight mortgage-backed paper, financed by private-sector insurance premiums. That will improve investor confidence in mortgage bonds and will make those bonds highly marketable. Importantly, senior Treasury officials have told me that Mr. Paulson will accept the insurance idea as an option in the final bill, alongside the ability of the Treasury to purchase distressed assets.

Sources also tell me that other conditions will be necessary to bring the House GOP along. First, the ACORN slush fund must be removed. Second, the so-called union proxy to run a slate of corporate directors is a big problem. Third, all profits from the Treasury rescue mission must be used to reduce the national debt — 100 percent. Fourth, Republican members are opposed to bankruptcy judges setting mortgage terms and interest rates (Sen. Obama also is opposed). Fifth, the so-called government equity ownership of banks is distasteful because it effectively creates a corporate tax increase on banks at a time when they are struggling. And last, the Treasury secretary’s request for $700 billion is regarded as way too high.

Essentially, House Republican leaders want a slimmer, cleaner Paulson plan supplemented by Mr. Cantor’s mortgage-bond insurance program. I think it’s a good package that would be great news for stock and bond markets that are now ailing badly. It would set the stage for a gradual return to normalcy on the part of bank lenders, including loans to small businesses, consumers, and homeowners. It would be a pro-growth package at a time when the economy desperately needs a prosperity tonic.

Kudlow: A Paulson-Cantor Plan Is a Win-Win - Financials * US * News * Story - CNBC.com
While I like most of the conservative proposals, there may be one very basic flaw in this guys summary. The loan/mortgages picked up by the gov't are likely to be dead--no payments coming through at all. If payments are being made, the bank has no reason to dump the mortgage on Paulson. So there is no cash-flow coming from these sub-prime defaults. The only way the taxpayer gets made whole is for the house to be resold.

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post #235 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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While I like most of the conservative proposals, there may be one very basic flaw in this guys summary. The loan/mortgages picked up by the gov't are likely to be dead--no payments coming through at all. If payments are being made, the bank has no reason to dump the mortgage on Paulson. So there is no cash-flow coming from these sub-prime defaults. The only way the taxpayer gets made whole is for the house to be resold.
80+% of those loans will be paid off one way or another, and in full, w/in seven years on average. If the US buys them for ten cents on the dollar, or less, we will make out like bandits, even after the cost of processing them.

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post #236 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 09:10 PM
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80+% of those loans will be paid off one way or another, and in full, w/in seven years on average. If the US buys them for ten cents on the dollar, or less, we will make out like bandits, even after the cost of processing them.
Well, make me feel better by telling me where the money is coming from to give us any margin on that 10%.

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post #237 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 09:27 PM
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http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com...e_crisis_real/

Is the Crisis Real?
By Elizabeth Warren - September 26, 2008, 6:28PM
At a Harvard panel discussion yesterday, economics professor Ken Rogoff made an interesting point: The liquidity crisis isn't real. Or, to restate it: Any liquidity crisis is caused by the promise of a government bailout. Ken said that his many friends in investment banking said that there is plenty of money to invest in financial services, but right now it is "sitting on the sidelines." Why? Because the financial services industry does not want to pay the terms demanded. As he put it, why do business with Warren Buffett who will negotiate a tough deal, if you believe that the government will ride in soon with cheaper cash?


Ken also talked about the need to shrink the financial services sector. He thinks it is good that the investment banking houses are failing and many people on Wall Street are losing their jobs because, in his view, we have an oversupply in that sector and our economy just can't support it.

Ken's background with the IMF and on the Board of the Federal Reserve add a certain credibility to his assessment of conditions on Wall Street. If he is right, the $700 bailout is saving some investment bankers' jobs in the short term, but overall it is making the financial system worse.

It was a terrific panel: Nobel winner Robert Merton, Dean of the Harvard Business School Jay Light, Harvard economist and Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers-2003-05 Greg Mankiw, Harvard Business School Prof and long-time Goldman Sachs partner Robert Kaplan, and me. It might be worth listening to the webcast.

If you tune in, don't miss Ken's talk (he is fifth of the six of us). He is calm and funny, but there is no too-big-to-fail talk. Instead, he makes the whole rush-to-bailout look like a very bad idea.

When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest, at first with heavenly shows - Othello
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post #238 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Well, make me feel better by telling me where the money is coming from to give us any margin on that 10%.
Did you read what I said? What is it you don't understand?

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post #239 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 10:01 PM
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Pardon me, if this little fusillade has already been posted

Op-Ed Columnist
McCain’s Suspension Bridge to Nowhere

By FRANK RICH
Published: September 27, 2008

WHAT we learned last week is that the man who always puts his “country first” will take the country down with him if that’s what it takes to get to the White House. For all the focus on Friday night’s deadlocked debate, it still can’t obscure what preceded it: When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. George Bush put more deliberation into invading Iraq than McCain did into his own reckless invasion of the delicate Congressional negotiations on the bailout plan.

By the time he arrived, there already was a bipartisan agreement in principle. It collapsed hours later at the meeting convened by the president in the Cabinet Room. Rather than help try to resuscitate Wall Street’s bloodied bulls, McCain was determined to be the bull in Washington’s legislative china shop, running around town and playing both sides of his divided party against Congress’s middle. Once others eventually forged a path out of the wreckage, he’d inflate, if not outright fictionalize, his own role in cleaning up the mess his mischief helped make. Or so he hoped, until his ignominious retreat.

The question is why would a man who forever advertises his own honor toy so selfishly with our national interest at a time of crisis. I’ll leave any physiological explanations to gerontologists — if they can get hold of his complete medical records — and any armchair psychoanalysis to the sundry McCain press acolytes who have sorrowfully tried to rationalize his erratic behavior this year. The other answers, all putting politics first, can be found by examining the 24 hours before he decided to “suspend” campaigning and swoop down on the Capitol to save America from the Sunnis or the Shia, or whoever perpetrated all those credit-default swaps.

To put these 24 hours in context, you must remember that McCain not only knows little about the economy but that he has not previously expressed any urgency about its meltdown. It was on Sept. 15 — the day after his former idol Alan Greenspan pronounced the current crisis a “once-in-a-century” catastrophe — that McCain reaffirmed for the umpteenth time that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.” As recently as Tuesday he had not yet even read the two-and-a-half-page bailout proposal first circulated by Hank Paulson last weekend. “I have not had a chance to see it in writing,” he explained. (Maybe he was waiting for it to arrive by Western Union instead of PDF.)

Then came Black Wednesday — not for the stock market, which was holding steady in anticipation of Washington action, but for McCain. As the widely accepted narrative has it, his come-to-Jesus moment arrived that morning, when he awoke to discover that Barack Obama had surged ahead by nine percentage points in the Washington Post/ABC News poll. The McCain campaign hastily suited up its own pollster to belittle that finding — only to be drowned out by a fusillade of new polls from Fox News, Marist and CNN/Time, each with numbers closer to Post/ABC than not. Obama was rising most everywhere except the moose strongholds of Alaska and Montana.

That was not the only bad news raining down on McCain. His camp knew what Katie Couric had in the can from her interview with Sarah Palin. The first excerpt was to be broadcast by CBS that night, and it had to be upstaged fast.

But even that wasn’t the top political threat McCain faced last week. Bigger still was the mounting evidence of the seamless synergy between his campaign and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage monsters at the heart of the housing bust that set off our current calamity. Most of all, it was the fast-moving events on that front that precipitated his panic to roll out his diversionary, over-the-top theatrics on Wednesday.

What we were learning — through The New York Times, Newsweek and Roll Call — was ugly. Davis Manafort, the lobbying firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, had received $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac from late 2005 until last month. This was in addition to the $30,000 a month that Davis was paid from 2000 to 2005 by the so-called Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy organization that he headed and that was financed by Freddie and Fannie to fight regulation.

The McCain campaign tried to pre-emptively deflect such revelations by reviving the old Rove trick of accusing your opponent of your own biggest failings. It ran attack ads about Obama’s own links to the mortgage giants. But neither of the former Freddie-Fannie executives vilified in those ads, Franklin Raines and James Johnson, had worked at those companies lately or are currently associated with the Obama campaign. (Raines never worked for the campaign at all.) By contrast, Davis is the tip of the Freddie-Fannie-McCain iceberg. McCain’s senior adviser, his campaign’s vice chairman, his Congressional liaison and the reported head of his White House transition team all either made fortunes from recent Freddie-Fannie lobbying or were players in firms that did.

By Wednesday, the McCain campaign’s latest tactic for countering this news — attacking the press, especially The Times — was paying diminishing returns. Davis abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance that day at a weekly reporters’ lunch sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, escaping any further questions by pleading that he had to hit the campaign trail. (He turned up at the “21” Club in New York that night, wining and dining McCain fund-raisers.)

It’s then that Angry Old Ironsides McCain suddenly emerged to bark that our financial distress was “the greatest crisis we’ve faced, clearly, since World War II” — even greater than the Russia-Georgia conflict, which in August he had called the “first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the cold war.” Campaigns, debates and no doubt Bristol Palin’s nuptials had to be suspended immediately so he could ride to the rescue, with Joe Lieberman as his Robin.

Yet even as he huffed and puffed about being a “leader,” McCain took no action and felt no urgency. As his Congressional colleagues worked tirelessly in Washington, he malingered in New York. He checked out the suffering on Main Street (or perhaps High Street) by conferring with Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the Hillary-turned-McCain supporter best known for her fabulous London digs and her diatribes against Obama’s elitism. McCain also found time to have a well-publicized chat with one of those celebrities he so disdains, Bono, and to give a self-promoting public speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.

There was no suspension of his campaign. His surrogates and ads remained on television. Huffington Post bloggers, working the phones, couldn’t find a single McCain campaign office that had gone on hiatus. This “suspension” ruse was an exact replay of McCain’s self-righteous “suspension” of the G.O.P. convention as Hurricane Gustav arrived on Labor Day. “We will put aside our political hats and put on our American hats,” he declared then, solemnly pledging that conventioneers would help those in need. But as anyone in the Twin Cities could see, the assembled put on their party hats instead, piling into the lobbyists’ bacchanals earlier than scheduled, albeit on the down-low.

Much of the press paid lip service to McCain’s new “suspension” as it had to its prototype. In truth, the only campaign activity McCain did drop was a Wednesday evening taping with David Letterman. Don’t mess with Dave. Picking up where the “The View” left off in speaking truth to power, the uncharacteristically furious host hammered the absent McCain on and off for 40 minutes, repeatedly observing that the cancellation “didn’t smell right.”

In a journalistic coup de grâce worthy of “60 Minutes,” Letterman went on to unmask his no-show guest as a liar. McCain had phoned himself that afternoon to say he was “getting on a plane immediately” to deal with the grave situation in Washington, Letterman told the audience. Then he showed video of McCain being touched up by a makeup artist while awaiting an interview by Couric that same evening at another CBS studio in New York.

It’s not hard to guess why McCain had blown off Letterman for Couric at the last minute. The McCain campaign’s high anxiety about the disastrous Couric-Palin sit-down was skyrocketing as advance excerpts flooded the Internet. By offering his own interview to Couric for the same night, McCain hoped (in vain) to dilute Palin’s primacy on the “CBS Evening News.”

Letterman’s most mordant laughs on Wednesday came when he riffed about McCain’s campaign “suspension”: “Do you suspend your campaign? No, because that makes me think maybe there will be other things down the road, like if he’s in the White House, he might just suspend being president. I mean, we’ve got a guy like that now!”

That’s no joke. Bush has so little credibility he can govern only through surrogates (Paulson is the new Petraeus). When he spoke about the economic crisis in prime time earlier that same night, he registered as no more than an irritating speed bump en route to “David Blaine: Dive of Death.”

It’s that utter power vacuum that gave McCain the opening to pull his potentially catastrophic display of economic “leadership” last week. He may be the first presidential candidate in our history to risk wrecking the country even before being voted into the Oval Office.
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post #240 of 259 (permalink) Old 09-27-2008, 10:06 PM
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Then pardoned you are.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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